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US 'Peace Plan' for the Middle East

07-02-2020

On 28 January 2020, United States President Donald Trump released his administration's 'vision for Israeli-Palestinian peace'. The White House Plan, coupled with earlier Trump administration moves, marks a distinct departure from past US policy on the Middle East Peace Process. Key elements are illegal under international law, as they advocate the annexation of occupied territory. Israeli leaders have welcomed the plan, seen as meeting Israel's key demands. The leadership of the Palestinian Authority ...

On 28 January 2020, United States President Donald Trump released his administration's 'vision for Israeli-Palestinian peace'. The White House Plan, coupled with earlier Trump administration moves, marks a distinct departure from past US policy on the Middle East Peace Process. Key elements are illegal under international law, as they advocate the annexation of occupied territory. Israeli leaders have welcomed the plan, seen as meeting Israel's key demands. The leadership of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas have been united in rejecting the proposal, and the PA has since cut ties with Israel and the USA. The plan is meant to serve as the basis for future direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, to stretch over four years. However, the Israeli government has announced plans to implement parts of it unilaterally in the near future.

Western Balkans: Enlargement strategy 2018

13-03-2018

With a resolute tone and a sense of urgency, the European Commission's new enlargement strategy for the Western Balkans sets a clear direction for the region's six countries: it offers them a credible enlargement perspective and pledges enhanced EU engagement. It indicates 2025 as a possible enlargement date. However, seizing this opportunity remains a challenge, as the aspirants must each deliver on difficult, key reforms, and solve all outstanding bilateral disputes.

With a resolute tone and a sense of urgency, the European Commission's new enlargement strategy for the Western Balkans sets a clear direction for the region's six countries: it offers them a credible enlargement perspective and pledges enhanced EU engagement. It indicates 2025 as a possible enlargement date. However, seizing this opportunity remains a challenge, as the aspirants must each deliver on difficult, key reforms, and solve all outstanding bilateral disputes.

US recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel

11-12-2017

On 6 December 2017, US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, mirroring the official Israeli position on the status of the city. In doing so, the US has become the first country to officially endorse the Israeli position on a hotly disputed issue that lies at the very heart of the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP), potentially weakening the role of the US in that process as an impartial mediator and tilting the odds further in Israel’s favour. The move has been widely ...

On 6 December 2017, US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, mirroring the official Israeli position on the status of the city. In doing so, the US has become the first country to officially endorse the Israeli position on a hotly disputed issue that lies at the very heart of the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP), potentially weakening the role of the US in that process as an impartial mediator and tilting the odds further in Israel’s favour. The move has been widely condemned as a violation of international law and a political provocation. However, it leaves open the possibility to address the status of the city as part of a comprehensive peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians.

Brexit and Ireland – Legal, political and economic considerations

22-11-2017

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament's Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the AFCO Committee, describes the legal, political and economic relations of the two parts of Ireland and the United Kingdom, and possible arrangements for dealing with "Brexit". The paper discusses several specific issues, in particular the Common Travel Area between Ireland and the United Kingdom, the consequences of an "invisible" border between the two parts ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament's Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the AFCO Committee, describes the legal, political and economic relations of the two parts of Ireland and the United Kingdom, and possible arrangements for dealing with "Brexit". The paper discusses several specific issues, in particular the Common Travel Area between Ireland and the United Kingdom, the consequences of an "invisible" border between the two parts of Ireland, and trade in agricultural products.

UK Withdrawal (‘Brexit’) and the Good Friday Agreement

22-11-2017

Upon request by the AFCO Committee, the Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs commissioned this study on UK withdrawal and the Good Friday Agreement (the ‘Agreement’). It provides an overview of the Agreement and an assessment of the potential challenges posed to its implementation by ‘Brexit’. In particular, it examines ways in which – through differentiation and ‘flexible and imaginative solutions’ – the Agreement can be upheld and the context for its effective implementation ...

Upon request by the AFCO Committee, the Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs commissioned this study on UK withdrawal and the Good Friday Agreement (the ‘Agreement’). It provides an overview of the Agreement and an assessment of the potential challenges posed to its implementation by ‘Brexit’. In particular, it examines ways in which – through differentiation and ‘flexible and imaginative solutions’ – the Agreement can be upheld and the context for its effective implementation maintained.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) – 40 years after Helsinki

05-11-2015

2015 marks the 40th anniversary of the Helsinki final act, signed in 1975. A turning point in the Cold War, the Helsinki process created a forum involving all the actors of European security: European states, the United States, Canada and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The formation of the Conference on the Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) came about during the Détente of 1962-1979. The CSCE transformed the zero-sum game of the Cold War into a positive-sum game between European ...

2015 marks the 40th anniversary of the Helsinki final act, signed in 1975. A turning point in the Cold War, the Helsinki process created a forum involving all the actors of European security: European states, the United States, Canada and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The formation of the Conference on the Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) came about during the Détente of 1962-1979. The CSCE transformed the zero-sum game of the Cold War into a positive-sum game between European states and became a forum for discussion between the two superpowers and European countries. The main outcome of the Helsinki process is less the Final Act itself than the original process of negotiations between all the participating states. After the fall of the USSR, the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) became an organisation focusing mainly on soft security (elections, peace processes, and protection of minorities). However the instability of the security situation in Europe and its neighbourhood may invigorate the pertinence of what has been known as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) since 1995. The OSCE set up Confidence and Security-building measures (CSBM) that are key to conflict resolution today in Europe (Ukraine, Transnistria and South Caucasus).

Nuclear deal with Iran

04-09-2015

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreed on 14 July 2015 concludes the long process of negotiations concerning Iran's nuclear programme. A political understanding by the parties concerned, it aims to ensure that Iran's nuclear programme will be exclusively peaceful, in exchange for termination of restrictive measures against Iran. The deal received a generally positive reaction in Europe and Asia but mixed reception in the US and the region.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreed on 14 July 2015 concludes the long process of negotiations concerning Iran's nuclear programme. A political understanding by the parties concerned, it aims to ensure that Iran's nuclear programme will be exclusively peaceful, in exchange for termination of restrictive measures against Iran. The deal received a generally positive reaction in Europe and Asia but mixed reception in the US and the region.

Future scenarios for US-Cuba relations

09-02-2015

On 17 December 2014, US President, Barack Obama, announced the start of a new phase in US-Cuba relations. The US embargo to Cuba has been in place for more than 50 years. International opposition to the embargo has grown since the beginning of the 1990s when US embargo legislation started to present extraterritorial implications. More recently, domestic support for the embargo has also started fading. US economic interest in the island has risen since Cuba became an importer of US agricultural products ...

On 17 December 2014, US President, Barack Obama, announced the start of a new phase in US-Cuba relations. The US embargo to Cuba has been in place for more than 50 years. International opposition to the embargo has grown since the beginning of the 1990s when US embargo legislation started to present extraterritorial implications. More recently, domestic support for the embargo has also started fading. US economic interest in the island has risen since Cuba became an importer of US agricultural products, and a series of economic policy reforms were introduced by the Castro government opening the way toward a mixed economy model. In this context and after successfully concluding a prisoner-exchange deal with Cuba, President Obama announced a period of normalisation. This normalisation process will most probably be constrained by the still strong opposition from Congress. The powers and discretion of the President to modify the embargo rules are limited by legislation dating back to the 1990s. Radical changes in relations between the two countries will therefore be dependent on Congress's willingness to amend or completely revoke embargo legislation. Opposition to major changes in the embargo rules is still strong in Congress, as political reforms in Cuba have lagged behind economic policy changes. This is likely to lead to a slower and more prudent process for dismantling the embargo. The maintenance of the main embargo legislation means that some of the rules with extraterritorial implications will remain in place. In particular, the rules from the 1996 Helms Burton Act and Section 211 of the 1998 Omnibus Appropriations Act that the EU had challenged in the past will, for the moment, remain in place.

The European Union and Northern Ireland

07-11-2014

The European Union has played a key role in assisting Northern Ireland's recovery from decades of conflict and division. The political support of the Commission, and the channelling of EU funds to Northern Ireland, has helped pave the way for several key projects aimed at improving cross-community cooperation and economic development. The Commission and Parliament continue to engage actively with the main political players in Northern Ireland in order to ensure that the peace process remains on track ...

The European Union has played a key role in assisting Northern Ireland's recovery from decades of conflict and division. The political support of the Commission, and the channelling of EU funds to Northern Ireland, has helped pave the way for several key projects aimed at improving cross-community cooperation and economic development. The Commission and Parliament continue to engage actively with the main political players in Northern Ireland in order to ensure that the peace process remains on track.

Palestine's Bid for UN Observer State Status Advances despite EU Hesitation

20-11-2012

The vote on the observer state status for Palestine in the United Nations system is scheduled for 29 November 2012. For the Palestinian National Authority, the lack of progress in the Middle East Peace Process has provided the stimulus for seeking an upgrade to its status in the United Nations. The European Union supports Palestinian statehood in principle, but is divided on the appropriateness of the timing of the UN bid. The European Parliament backs the two-state solution, with its implicit upgrading ...

The vote on the observer state status for Palestine in the United Nations system is scheduled for 29 November 2012. For the Palestinian National Authority, the lack of progress in the Middle East Peace Process has provided the stimulus for seeking an upgrade to its status in the United Nations. The European Union supports Palestinian statehood in principle, but is divided on the appropriateness of the timing of the UN bid. The European Parliament backs the two-state solution, with its implicit upgrading of Palestine's status. Israel has threatened the Palestinian National Authority with serious reprisals if the PNA pursues its bid at the United Nations. The Palestinian National Authority's survival is at stake with the statehood bid in more than one way.

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